On Friday morning, 27th May 2016, Marija and I went for a bus tour of the historic Kingston area of Norfolk Island. Kingston was founded on the 6th March 1788 by Lieutenant Philip Gidley King and 22 settlers, including 9 male and 6 female convicts, who landed that day from HMT Supply. They had sailed from Port Jackson just a few weeks after the establishment of the British colony of New South Wales. The settlement was initially known as Sidney or Sydney Bay, and by 1796 was being called the Town of Sydney, in honour of Viscount Sydney, British Home Secretary and patron of the First Fleet. Today it is on the World Heritage List.
We also revisited the Noroflk Island cemetery as part of the tour. I was fortunate enough to come across the headstone of the late Jim Smith VK9NS. Although I never spoke with Jim on air, I did listen to him many many times as a Short Wave Listener.
At the end of the tour, Marija and I headed to Emily Bay on the south coast of the island, near Kingston. I had a scheduled meeting at 4.00 p.m. local time with the rest of the WIA Board, so I had a few hours to play amateur radio.
Above:- Map showing the location of Emily Bay on Norfolk Island.
Emily Bay has been voted in the top 100 Australian beaches. It is a crescent of golden sand backed by beach grass and pines. The sheltered reef lagoon is home to a variety of fish and hard and soft coral. The water is clean and crystal clear and provides a safe refuge to swimming and is perfect for snorkelling.
I set up on a wooden bench and table in the park overlooking the Bay. For this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-757d, 40 watts and the 20m/20m linked dipole, and also my 15m 1/2 wave dipole. Both antennas supported on the 6 metre telescopic squid pole. Although I only made 57 contacts, there were some very interesting ones amongst them.
My first contact was with VI9ANZAC on 20m being operated by Heath VK3TWO/9. This was another contact towards the special Norfolk Island Award on offer by the WIA. I then headed to 14.255 and called CQ, and I was delighted to be called by my good mate Ivan VK5HS. This was followed by another great friend Col VK5HCF, followed by Brian ZL2AJA. It was still early in the afternoon and the bands were still yet to open up. It is normally from around 4.oo p.m. that conditions appear to be best on 20m and 40m.
It was very slow going, so after working just 9 stations on 14.255 and numerous unanswered CQ calls, I had a tune across the 20m band and found Alex VK4TE calling CQ VK9. I came back to Alex CQ call and added another VK9 to his log towards the Norfolk Island Award. I then returned back to 14.255 and called CQ again and this was answered by Ian VK2ZIF, followed by Rio JA1JRK, and then John ZL1DT. I was then very surprised to be called by Compton VK2HRX who was operating from a SOTA summit in New South Wales….Mount Yullundunida VK2/ NW-020. Compton had a very respectable 5/5 signal and he gave me a 5/7 back to the Australian mainland, some 1,400 kms away.
A few calls later, I was excited again, with a new country for me in the log whilst on Norfolk. It was a contact into Costa Rica in Central America, with Eduardo TI2SD. But callers went very quiet again, very quickly. So I tuned across the band again, logging Fred VK9DAC on Norfolk Island, Chris VK3QB/9 on Norfolk Island, and then AH2ST/KH2 on Guam. This was another new country for me to add to VK9PAS.
I then tuned further across the band and found Stef VK5HSX/2 calling CQ on 14.320 from the Mebbin National Park VKFF-0311 in New South Wales. Stef was a good 5/5 and very readable as there was no noise at all from Emily Bay. I then moved up the band a little and logged Jim VK9PC on Norfolk Island.
I decided to try my luck on 15m. Unfortunately I was not able to self spot as I had no internet coverage. I lowered the squid pole and removed the linked dipole and replaced it with the 1/2 wave 15m dipole. I called CQ on 21.244 and this was answered by Tom VK5NFT who was very low down but very readable (5/1 both ways). This was followed by JA7BFB in Japan, Ivan VK5HS, Peter VK3PF/9 on Norfolk Island, and finally Chris VK3AWG in Victoria. Chris was really motoring in to Norfolk and had a 5/9 plus signal and gave me 5/8. But sadly, despite a number of further CQ calls, I had no further takers on 15m.
I headed back to 20m where I logged a further 2 Norfolk Island stations, Ewan VK4ERM/9 and Ron VK3AFW/9. I then put the links back in to the dipole and headed to 7.144 and found Stef VK5HSX/2 in VKFF-0311. Signal strengths were comparable to than on 20m. The 40m band was very quiet and my only other contact was with Al VK1RX/3 who was operating portable from SOTA peak Mount Warrenheip VK3/ VC-019. Al was very low down, but we successfully made the QSO (3/1 both ways).
Above:- View of the lone Pine and Phillip Island from Emily Bay.
I then headed back to 20m where I called CQ on 14.275 and to my surprise this was answered by Eduard OM3EY on the Slovak Republic. I had not worked many Europeans on the trip, so it was a real pleasure to be able to get Eduard in the log. Propagation to Europe from Norfolk Island is very very different to the Australian mainland. This was followed by a contact with Paul VK4PY, and then Tadashi JR1BLX in Japan, and then Craig N6ED in California. I was then called by Jorge EA8TL in the Canary Island, followed by Robert S57AW in Slovenia. Although the European signals were quite low down, we successully exchanged signal reports and call signs.
I then worked Terry KI7M in Oregon who asked if I could QSY down a bit as I was being battered around by OK2RZ. Interesting that I could not hear OK2RZ at all. And yet at home in the Adelaide Hills, Jiri is normally 5/9 plus. I QSY’d down to 14.273 where I worked a further 17 stations in VK, Japan, USA, and New Zealand. The band was just opening up, but I had a 4.00 p.m. WIA Board committment, so I had to go QRT with 59 contacts in the log.
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-
- VI9ANZAC (Norfolk Island)
- VK3TWO/9 (Norfolk Island)
- VK2HRX/p (SOTA VK2/ NW-020)
- VK9DAC (Norfolk Island)
- VK3QB/9 (Norfolk Island)
- VK5HSX/2 (VKFF-0311)
- VK9PC (Norfolk Island)
- VK4ERM/9 (Norfolk Island)
- VK3AFW/9 (Norfolk Island)
- VK4HNS/p (VKFF-0129)
- VK9DAC (Norfolk Island)
The following stations were worked on 15m SSB:-
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
- VK5HSX/2 (VKFF-0311)
- VK1RX/3 (SOTA VK3/ VC-019)
Here is a short video of some of my contacts from Emily Bay…..
That night we attended the Norfolk Island RSL for the first function for the 2016 WIA AGM. It was a great meal and we were entertained by Trent Christian.